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Parenting and Technology

Parenting and technology tips from KVC

Online predators, cyber-bullying, and/or naked images being sent to or from friends – how do you manage all of these worrisome issues in your home? Our kids, especially teens, crave privacy but still need parents to balance supervision with their independence.

Parenting is hard enough, and now we have to deal with many high tech communication tools. Here’s a tip. When things seem overwhelming, break them down to their simplest form; like – what did parents do before the Internet or smart phones? Also, don’t think of Online and Offline as two separate worlds. Think of them as your child’s everyday life, their connection to friends and social world.

As parents, we engage with our kids and their friends in real life. It’s what you do if your child’s friend visits your home. You greet them; ask about their lives, school, teams, and parents. You let your child and friend go off and hang out, but eventually you’ll check on them – ask if they need anything, or if the friend needs to call home to check in. That’s involving yourself as a parent, stepping into their world, stepping out, and stepping back in as needed. Engaging with your child in the online world may sound impossible, and may not be easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

Try This

Next time your son or daughter is texting a friend, ask who they’re texting and say, “Let me say hi”. You may get a “you’re freaking me out” response, but wouldn’t you say hi if they were visiting or calling your home? It isn’t any different, and an involved parent knows their child’s friends.

Our kids use all sorts of devices, from smart phones to gaming systems. We have to be more engaged as parents. Online predators aren’t the only troubling issue for parents. Secrecy and lack of parental involvement may be all the opening a predator needs to connect with a child.

Being involved is the greatest responsibility of parenting. Therefore, that means knowing your child, their interests and friends, and having conversations about their lives and dreams.